December 4, 2011

Style Feature: The Rain Coat

As I have said before, dressing seasonally is a key aspect of being stylish. Part of that is dressing appropriately, not just for the occasion but also for the weather. You wouldn’t wear a wool topcoat in 80 degree weather or go out for the day wearing a cotton blazer in a hail storm (and if you would, I suggest reconsidering). There are dozens of styles of rain coats, but the most important things to consider when buying one are fit and function.

1. Full Trench
When buying a trench coat, or any piece of outerwear, it is important to remember what purpose it will serve in your wardrobe. I bought this trench to wear over a suit, so the fit is loose enough to accommodate my suit jacket. Many classic trenches tend to have a boxy cut so always try different brands and sizes to get the right fit.

Extra Tip : A removable lining helps extend the time you can wear your coat, sometimes almost year-round.

Trench by Burberry; Shirt by Nautica; Trousers by Burberry;
Shoes by Johnston & Murphy; Tie by Ben Sherman; Eyeglasses by Dolce & Gabbana.

2. Casual Trench

If your trench is for casual wear, it should fit trimmer than one for business wear but still give you enough range of motion to be comfortable. Try sizing down for a better fit.

Trench by Shipley & Halmos; Corduroy pants by Nautica;
Sneakers by Paul Smith Jeans; Scarf by Tallia Orange.

3. Field Jacket

A field jacket is another great casual option. Its military heritage and surplus of pockets make it one of my go-to pieces for daily wear. The updated design and easy drape makes this the perfect way to finish off that carefree-casual look.

Extra Tip : The removable hood easily fits in the large pockets, but I usually just leave it on.

Extra Tip II : The drawstrings at the waist and hem help keep the wind out during a strong storm.

Jacket by Marc by Marc Jacobs; Denim by Guess;
Shoes by Original Penguin; Scarf from H&M; Sunglasses by Prada.

4. Nylon

While I usually avoid nylon outerwear (out of a personal dislike for the sound it makes), I have to admit this coat has definitely earned its place in my closet. As great as treated cotton is, it will never be as truly water repellent as a synthetic made for that purpose. As a bonus feature, the hood rolls up into the collar to keep it out of the way when it isn’t needed.

Jacket by Burberry; Shirt by J Crew; Denim by William Rast;
Rain boots by Marc by Marc Jacobs; Scarf by John Varvatos;
Hat by Prada; Umbrella by Tumi.

5. Military Surplus

I got this German WWII jacket almost 15 years ago from a military surplus shop in Washington DC and it has certainly taken a beating. A few years back Urban Outfitters started making replicas of this jacket but they didn’t come close to the original quality.

Extra Tip : Military surplus stores are a great place for functional pieces because clothing made for military use is built to last and hold up in a variety of weather conditions. Here in NYC, Kaufman's is probably one of the best, and its owner, Jim, will give you great suggestions based on what you're looking for.

Jacket from military surplus store; Shirt by Nautica;
Denim by AllSaints Spitalfields; Boots by John Varvatos.
Style considerations aside, always remember that when buying a rain coat it is important that is holds up in the rain. Otherwise, you just have a nice coat. Weigh the pros and cons and make a choice on material based on how you are going to wear it and what is most important to you.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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